cover image Jefferson and Hamilton: 
The Rivalry That Forged a Nation

Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation

John Ferling. Bloomsbury, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-1-60819-528-2

Ferling’s latest venture into America’s origins opens up a new side of our country’s beginnings and the revolution never seemed so catty. With moments of exciting clarity, Ferling’s account of two of the most famous American revolutionaries offers gossip, intrigue, and a window into their heated and turbulent relationship. His detailed sketches of the childhoods of Jefferson and Hamilton, respectively, point to the similarity of their personalities and show how their ambitions as young men were shaped. As war breaks out between America and England, Ferling (Almost a Miracle) follows the competing yet parallel lives of these two men as their strong opinions about the future of America lead them to opposing sides in debates over federalism, republicanism, agrarianism, and banking. Though at points Ferling’s account gets weighed down by the “he said, she said” gossip found in the preserved letters of the Founding Fathers, his astute research congeals to bring the lives of Jefferson and Hamilton, Washington and Burr, and their contemporaries into our modern world. As personalities clash and egos are wounded, Ferling gives readers a chance to rediscover the birth of the United States through the characters who helped craft its most vital institutions. (Oct.)